Book Review

Six Crimson Cranes

Six Crimson Cranes

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Knopf

Series: Six Crimson Cranes #1

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.

CONTENT WARNING: violence, mention of death of a parent, murder

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.

I had high hopes for this book, after falling in love with Lim’s writing in The Blood of Stars series. And I’m so happy to say that this book exceeded all my expectations. 

Shiori is a character that I found it hard not to like right away — she’s mischievous, smart, and incredibly devoted to her family, but not above acting out or getting in trouble despite being a princess. She shows a lot of growth throughout the story, and I loved how she checked out the situation before deciding to wait to act or jump in, weighing out the consequences for the people she cares about, rather than herself. How can you not love a brave female protagonist?

This book was absolutely an underdog story, and it was packed full of situations where I didn’t see any way that Shiori and her brothers could succeed. However, they worked together and used their brains to come up with creative solutions to a range of problems, and I loved seeing everything come together. There was a strong sense of tension throughout the book, and there were some amazing plot twists that I never saw coming! I couldn’t put the book down and absolutely brought it everywhere with me, just in case I’d have a chance to read it if I was out. I didn’t realize that this was the first book in a new series, but I’m absolutely not complaining, because Lim’s talent for weaving traditional Chinese storytelling techniques and mythology into her books is *chef’s kiss* and I need more of this in my life. Plus, I loved the way that there was a little crossover with The Blood of Stars series, although you don’t need to read the other series to understand or enjoy anything that is going on in this one.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 12

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